“Fire Burn and Caldron Bubble”
Yellowstone National Park is home to the world’s largest concentration of thermal features. In fact, the geyser region of the park occupies the ancient Yellowstone Caldera that last erupted 630,000 years ago. The floor of the giant crater dropped more than one thousand feet and the entire floor of the Caldera is “alive” as it huffs upward and puffs downward over decades of molten rock, hot water and steam that is moving constantly beneath the Caldera from a few miles to a couple of hundred miles deep.
As Ashley and I were exploring the park, we found the Mud Pots located in the Lower Geyser Basin. Mud Pots are turbulent pools of hot muddy water. The water becomes acidic which in turn breaks down the rocks and minerals to form mud. As we approached the area there was a smell of “rotten eggs” due to the presence of sulfur in the mud that the Hot Springs do not have. These areas are
being closely monitored for information about future volcanic activity because they are close to one of the major vents where lava flowed during the Caldera’s collapse. Of course this is one bit of information I tried not to think about as we followed the boardwalk trail that guided us in and around the basin!
Surrounded by snow and freezing temperatures, we could feel the heat radiating from the colorful Mud Pots as they bubbled and boiled. The varying shades of beige, pink and slate are due to the iron oxide in the mud.
Observing this incredible landscape brings to mind the scene from Macbeth where the witches are gathering and chanting -
“Like a hell-broth boil and bubble!”——-